The world of sports is a frontier for conversations about equality. As we’ve written before, openly LGBT athletes force a discussion in the world of professional sports, the administration of sports associations, and among fans. Our mantra is that with greater visibility comes greater acceptance and Transgender athletes are breaking new ground and winning victories in this regard, on and off the field.
Last month a George Washington University Basketball player came out to the public as Transgender. Kye Allums, formerly known as Kay-Kay to teammates and fellow students, decided at to announce his gender identity via outsports.com, and has received overwhelming support from teammates and the university administration. After a difficult decision to announce his gender identity, Kye has become the first NCAA Division One college basketball player. Kye, protected under Washington, DC’s anti-discrimination laws, is also supported by the NCAA, and has paved the way for fellow college athletes to follow in his footsteps.
Earlier this month the LPGA voted to remove its “female at birth” requirement after Lana Lawless, a transgender woman, filed a federal lawsuit claiming the policy violated California civil rights law. The suit also includes the Long Drivers of America, who barred the former Long Drive Champion under the LPGA’s “female at birth” rule. The LGPA voted on its own to remove the policy and it seems the players are doing just fine with the change. Christie Kerr told the Associated Press:
We don’t need to comment on this because it’s a dead issue, she can compete if she can qualify. We certainly don’t want to discriminate against anybody, that’s not what the LPGA is about. And if she can qualify, she’ll be able to play. We’re like, the last sports organization to do it, it’s just we’ve never really had to look at it before.
The public at large has a lot of questions about transgender issues, and transgendered individuals have been making great strides to raise visibility. Vital to the struggle for LGBT equality is public education and just by being open and honest about gender identity in sports we can wrap the conversation in an experience that is familiar to the public.
Repeat after me: with greater visibility comes greater acceptance.